“Blending digital content with the real world will enable new experiences to be created,” said Apple President Tim Cook about this revolutionary new product. The helmet is connected to a pocketable battery that lasts for two hours, and users can choose the degree of immersion in the worlds thanks to a click that allows them to switch from augmented to virtual reality.
After a long wait, Apple on Monday launched its first mixed reality helmet that mixes virtual and augmented reality, called Vision Pro, in a field currently dominated by Meta (Facebook, Instagram and Quest). The new device will be sold early next year. Starting at $3,499.
“If you buy the latest high-performance TV and speakers, a powerful PC with plenty of high-resolution monitors and other high-end hardware, you won’t get far enough from Vision Pro,” said Richard Howarth, corporate vice president of design.
The helmet, which is not wireless, unlike the recent models “Quest” from “Meta” and “Vive” from “HTC”, was launched during the annual “Apple” conference for developers.
“I was in an immersive world when someone started talking to me and this person was standing in front of me,” Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies, told AFP.
“a little weird”
Insider Intelligence analyst Yuri Wurmser said the helmet display was “incredible”, although “the option to have an external battery is a bit odd”.
Wurmser continued, saying: “There are two main questions that we have not received answers to: Who will pay $ 3,500 to own this helmet? (…) And do people really want experiences in virtual and augmented reality through a non-wireless helmet?”
Users control applications and virtual screens through eye movements, gestures and voice commands. Howarth explained that the helmet is equipped with sensors, “that will create the user’s digital image” through an artificial intelligence program trained on video clips of “thousands of individuals”.
And Apple officials presented potential uses for the helmet related to the world of business, communication and entertainment, with reference to a partnership with the Disney group.
“Apple has exceeded all my expectations,” Rolf Ellenberger, founder of VR Direct, a consulting company in the field of virtual reality, told AFP, expressing regret that “Apple” specifically offered two-dimensional applications (movies and video games). If you offer more 360-degree applications, they must first create a new content management system that matches the technical capabilities.”
The presentation of the “Vision Pro” helmet constitutes the largest launch of a product from “Apple” since the unveiling of its “Apple Watch” smart watch in 2015. Thus, “Apple” has presented itself as a competitor to the “Meta” group, its neighbor and competitor in Silicon Valley, on the ground. its jurisdiction.
Mita dominates the virtual reality sector today, as Quest helmets accounted for more than 80% of the market at the end of 2022, according to Cooterpoint.
On Thursday, Meta launched a new device, the Quest 3, which constitutes “the first public-facing helmet with mixed reality in high-resolution colors.” It will go on sale in the United States during the fall, starting at $500.
And at the end of the year 2021, Facebook adopted the name “Meta” for its parent company, based on a vision based especially on considering Metaverse the future of the Internet, after the Web and mobile devices.
According to this research company, about 35 million people currently use virtual reality helmets at least once a month in the United States, or about 10 percent of the population.
The group is known for releasing new products only when they are sure to make a big splash, with the ambition to establish itself as a reference by starting to create luxury products for companies and their fans.
“The helmet is finally out,” said analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush. “We’re counting on selling about 150 helmets the first year, and a million the next year when the price drops.”